Southwest Texas Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez was killed over the weekend in a suspected attack while on duty.
Just as the law enforcement community mourns his death, so does one south Texas mother who lost her son three years ago. He was also an agent.
“My heart breaks for them… my heart breaks”, said Rio Grande Valley resident Marie Vega.
Vega knows exactly what the family of slain Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez is going through.
“You get up and that’s the first thing on your mind,” she said. “You go to bed and of course, that’s the last thing on your mind. And then you have the holidays and that’s really hard on somebody that loses a child.”
Vega lost her son Javier Jr. when the family was out fishing on August 3, 2014. The off-duty Border Patrol agent was allegedly shot by two undocumented immigrants who attempted to rob them.
Monday, the FBI revealed that this weekend’s suspected assault 12 miles east of Van Horn, Texas killed 36-year-old agent Martinez and seriously injured his unnamed partner after they both suffered severe head injuries and broken bones.
A traumatic experience Vega said scars the victims’ families forever.
“It doesn’t get better,” she added. “You know how they say that ‘time heals all wounds’, not when it’s your child.”
National Border Patrol Council spokesman Chris Cabrera has known of at least 40 fallen agents since he joined the force in 2001. Some died by accident while others by the hands of undocumented immigrants, he said as he pointed at pictures of deceased agents on a wall.
“There’s one train of thought out there that everyone crossing this border is just coming to look for work and they are peaceful folks... that’s not necessarily the case.”
As soon as word got out about Sunday’s attack, President Trump took the opportunity to make a renewed call to build the border wall.
Texas governor Greg Abbott offered up to $20,000 for information that leads to the arrest of any suspects.
It’s that kind of reaction and attention that both Cabrera and Vega welcome to find justice for the Martinez family. However, they also recognize that more needs to be done to prevent this from happening again.
“I think that we need more resources, we need tougher judges, stiffer penalties,” said Vega. “We need help. We need help securing the border.”
The FBI is asking anyone with information to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or online at www.tips.fbi.gov